Pimelo farmers in Kratie province’s Koh Trong island have expanded their cultivation after the fruit was awarded Geographical Indication (GI) status, said the Koh Trong Pomelo Producer Association.
Koh Trong island pomelos are the third Cambodian agricultural product to obtain GI status, following in the footsteps of Kampot’s pepper and Kampong Speu province’s palm sugar.
GI is a certification assigned to products and indicates the area of origin, usually to signify that the product obtains certain qualities or was made using production methods specific to that location.
The association’s president Chea Rina said pomelo cultivation on the island has significantly expanded since the crop was recognised as a GI product.
“Pomelo farmers are showing a greater interest in growing the crop since GI status brought the fruit greater value,” she said.
The association has 155 families as members. Rina said their most recent figures show that there are 35ha dedicated to pomelo cultivation, with approximately 2,000 of the 100,000 pomelo trees ready for harvesting.
After the island’s pomelos were registered as a GI product in June, the price increased from $1.50 to $3.50 a fruit, said Rina.
“Even though the data is not fully up to date, we have noted that farmers keep expanding their cultivation as a result of the price of the product doubling."
“Even with the price increase, demand has not reduced. Our pomelos have a distinct flavour to those from other regions,” he said
A representative of the provincial Department of Commerce, Doung Samban, said what distinguished Koh Trong Island’s pomelos from others are their sweetness, reduced seeds and an oval shape.
“We spent years examining the fruits and trees. The island’s pomelo trees give the fruit a different flavour. That’s why it received GI Status.”
He said farmers now understand the benefit of GI products and are “now trying to expand their cultivation” as demand for the product has outstripped supply.